December 20, 2013

A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi

This is a book about food.  Really.  Ok, well maybe it's a book about Italian culture too.  But there's a lot of food in it.

Three years after marrying her husband in Venice, Marlena is apprehensive when they sell everything and move to Tuscany.  Here they have no job, are renting a house, but they quickly become adapted to village life and make a few friends.  One of these is a man who used to live in their house long ago and is a great source of help on projects from making a bread oven to harvesting grapes.  And of course, the entire time that they're living there, there is a lot of food and cooking going on.

Marlena describes her husband in favorable terms most of the time.  But does share that he has a quicksilver aspect of his personality which gets him gloomy.  In fact, most of the Italian men Marlena encounters (and one Russian) seem to have this trait.  She herself, while the narrator, doesn't go beyond describing herself in terms of clothes and the food she's eating.  She is very focused on clothes.  In fact, the person who gets the most description is probably Barlozzo, the man who used to live in their house.  He is kind of a funny character but seems to have a good heart.

I'm not sure where the thousand days part of this book came into play.  It seems to span only a year.  I'm guessing it was just a naming convention passed on from one of her other books.  I loved all the descriptions of the food (and the recipes included are mouth watering as well).  It was really that part of the book that shined.  She had good material to work with though with all the local produce and markets.  The actual renovation of the house and grounds I wasn't as interested in.  But her stories of the people in the village were good and you really cared about what happened to the people and how their lives were going.

A nice book about travel/living in Italy in the Tuscany region.  I'm sure most who enjoy other such books will take to this one with no problem.  It seems to fit that whole genre of woman moves to Tuscany and finds love and food.

A Thousand Days in Tuscany
Copyright 2004
325 pages

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